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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What I'm Reading // Sew Retro: A Stylish History of the Sewing Revolution

Happy new week, everyone!   Do you ever just feel like you blink and the weekend disappeared into thin air?  That is how I felt as I awoke yesterday morning and realized just how quickly Monday came.  I think that is a probably a common feeling, but sometimes the weekend just seems to fly a bit faster than usual.  But in many cases, that is due to the fact that it was well spent and full of fun moments, as this one was.  And it is such a blessing to awaken on a new week and have a weekend of memories so delightful to think upon.

I do hope yours was happily spent.  Some of my favorite moments of the past two weekends have included the calm and quiet of a joyful Sunday of reading.  Especially in the golden hour of the evenings, when the sun began to descend and my thoughts and inspirations in the sewing room grew as I read... 

The beautiful book I am finding so much inspiration in lately is Sew Retro: A Stylish History of the Sewing Revolution.  Oh, this book is surely one of my favorite finds ever!  The more I look through it, the more I am engrossed in its pages that are so full of fascinating history of sewing through the eras.
This book cheers an old soul like mine (and I know many of yours☺) to look through and soak in... it is so old-fashioned and vintage and wonderful, showcasing and providing detailed historical points on sewing and ladies' fashions from the 1800s, 1910s, 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond.
The early origins of sewing machines and pattern companies, as well as the formation of early sewing societies & sewing as a social activity among ladies seeking to benefit and clothe their families and others, begin this informative and nostalgic book, and it is inspiring to us as girls and ladies who sew in modern day.  
The impact of various types of needlework, but especially sewing, on the world wars and economy of the first half of the 20th century are also interestingly shared through the pages.  Those I found especially engaging as a lover of history were the importance of sewing in America during WWII and the role it played in both morale and war efforts, not to mention to the Women's Army Corps and other elements of the war, including the issue back home of rationing and re-purposing.

Another era, both generally and in fashion, that has interested me since U.S. History class in high school is the Depression.  The elegant simplicity and lines of the 1930s dress styles was so lovely and poised.  I am loving reading more behind the history of sewing in the Depression era.  You'll notice on the footer of the pages, there are timelines that give a deeper look into the chronology of how progressions in the pattern and sewing world intertwined with major historical events and influences.  The fact that economic downfall in some of the less bright periods of our history played into how people dressed and how much ladies sewed at that particular time is something that doesn't always come to mind when we think of sewing, so this definitely educated me on just how much that is true. 


Probably my favorite section, with such quintessential 1950's charm and beauty is this one:  Midcentury Modern.  Oh how cheerful and classic and polished, yet fun, I find the fifties styles to be, and this is probably also the era for which I have the most sewing aspirations in projects I dream of creating.  Every time I watch I Love Lucy, I seem to be thinking about whether or not I may have a pattern in the sewing room for the style that Lucy or Ethel has on, especially many of Lucy's simply pretty day-dresses and her evening wear.  It is inspiring to me to see these styles, as well, because the cut and lines of many of the garments the ladies sewed then were what I would consider to be a bit more of a challenge to sew.  And I am looking forward to being more challenged by my sewing projects choices so that I can grow ☺  ...On a side note, I was just reminded by bring up I Love Lucy in this post about sewing of the episode where Lucy is on a budget so she tries to sew her own dress (and do an at-home version of her red Henna rinse)!  I love that one, it is hilarious!

There are some books you find that contain pages that are just so aesthetically pleasing!  This one definitely qualifies.  I am always falling in love with new pages like these to gaze upon, especially those that contain so much wonder in their vintage inspiration and old-world charm.

Within the book are also vintage sewing ads that are such a delight to take in, as well as needle booklet covers... I love this because it is such a beautiful thing to see the way everything, even down to a booklet for sewing needles, was so artfully made with effort put into making it lovely.  
Aside from those classic old ads, along with pictures of the neatest old patterns through the eras, there are a few diagrams that I have especially enjoyed viewing that encompass vintage classiness and elegant femininity.... like the "Best Colors for Your Type" color palette chart for different skin tones and hair colors.
Lastly, this book is not only a vintage and sewing enthusiast's dream for the illustrated history of the sewing revolution through the eras, but it even includes several simple sewing projects, an added cherry on top.  The cute apron above is one of them- I love the fabric choice and eyelet trim.  This is one of many projects.  To be perfectly honest, not all of them are pieces I'd try making, but there are definitely a good few that I would and that look like they would be fun to take on.


I mentioned at the start of this post the growing inspiration inside me as I started reading this book... which has continued as I keep enjoying its pages when I pick it up in spare moments or on the weekends.  That inspiration has led to so many new ideas and thoughts for vintage-inspired pieces, which compelled me to select some new fabrics with that feel that I am excited to put to use, as well as go through our baskets of patterns and pick up a few new ones.   Below is one of my favorite new additions, the most darling 1950's skirt, with optional poodle design included, in case you want to make it an official "poodle skirt".  And that waistband yoke!  I am also enjoying rediscovering some of our authentic vintage patterns.

Perhaps one of the sweetest parts of reading the pages of this treasure is connecting by way of history and the olden days to the ladies before us, to realize that the beauty of feeling the thrill and joys of sewing and creating is the same that coursed through the girls and ladies generations before us.  I love turning the pages of this book and thinking of how, during this or that era that I'm reading about, women sat around the fire in winter sewing new church dresses for their daughters or a new suit for their husband, much like the images conveyed in the cozy description by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her books of her mother shopping for fabrics at the mercantile and sewing.... Or in later decades how they went to the new fabric stores and picked out patterns as they were inspired by the mid-century fashions coming out.


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In the solitude and enjoyment of my new sewing book, when I first got into it last weekend, I remember sitting at my desk with something else on my mind as I read... my heart and prayers were with the people of Florida, Georgia, and the islands and areas that took the brunt of Hurricane Irma... thinking of the impact of the storm on the lives of people and animals, hoping and praying for their safety, and knowing that they would be dealing with exactly what Texas just did.  May they all be lifted up in prayer and given strength!   

While I am on the topic, I would also like to express gratefulness for the kind comments and messages of your shared sentiment and prayers after my earlier post about Harvey.  All those impacted here in Texas are so blessed to be lifted up by prayer, and as someone who knows two family friends who had their homes flattened and has seen the damage, I am personally thankful for your heart and thoughts being here.  

It seems this is the summer of hurricanes, and so many will surely need prayer in these catastrophic and trying times.  


I hope you are having a great start to the new week!  Can you believe fall is officially upon us here in the U.S. in just a few days, friends?  I am eagerly awaiting the changing season as the crisp leaves begin to fall- it will be so heavenly to feel that first chilly air roll in.  I hope the South gets the autumn weather memo early this year ☺


Are you excited for a new season?

What is a book that is inspiring you lately?

Are you interested in sewing history?


Blessings in Christ,

-J


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Made By Me // Electric Pink and Lace

Happy September!  I hope the start of the new month has been a wonderful one for you, dear friends.  I sit here typing with exhilaration inside me as I ponder over the fact that such an illustrious season so full of wonder is nearly upon us, autumn.  It is sheer delight to dream of the cooler temperatures and know they are imminent, as well as to be experiencing the first touches of it with our first "cool front" today!  It is supposed to last for a few days and is a true blessing.  Has the weather begun to change yet where you are? 


Although I am so looking forward to fall, I must admit that in matters of fashion and sewing aspirations, I am still feeling summery in my thinking.  I am so attracted to the whimsy and elegance of wearing some of my favorite summery prints, especially butterflies, floral, and bright shades.

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I am excited today to get to share a sewing project I finished earlier this summer.  It took me months off and on to finish due to the fullness and busyness of life, but getting back to it and finishing this project made me realize so much just to what degree I missed sewing.  And that is not to say that I felt that way because I felt it was turning out perfectly- in fact, my tunic didn't end up fitting quite as I intended, but I still had such fun sewing it and putting it together that I was reminded of the delight of that feeling.  My first outing wearing my new creation was also ever so delightful a day, spent walking through one of my favorite old towns we visit when we can, where we had lunch over the river.

The aspect of this pattern I enjoyed most was challenging myself a bit.  I definitely still consider myself a beginner seamstress.  The cut and style of this blouse was one of the more difficult things I have taken on, but I loved doing something different and working with the different panels and a bit of pleating to form the finished piece.  I also relished in picking out the loveliest white lace and seeing it contrast so sweetly and femininely with the pink, sheer fabric.



My favorite part of the blouse, specifically wearing it, is the look and feel of the wide sleeves trimmed in lace.  They are oh so summery.  As for buttons, I searched for an option that would compliment the sweet feel of the lace I had chosen, and these were fun and so pretty, with a pearly finish and design and finished with a subtle rhinestone in the middles.


The pattern I used was McCalls 7128.  Although it said "easy" and was indeed relatively simple in the architecture and style of the blouse, I think the major difficulty was this fabric.  I chose this fabric solely because of the brilliant pink, whilst not considering much the way the fabric would behave with the cut of the pattern, or the way it would slip on top of itself as I sewed.  Needless to say, it was not the best fabric choice as far as that went,  but I'm happy I used it in the end since it did challenge me more and because I love the way the fabric ended up falling due to its light, sheer nature and the flowy, blousiness. ☺


Hanging up and finished, against the morning light streaming softly through the window and the fabric, the delicate quality of it seemed even lovelier, while also having its color so beautifully amplified, in a way.  Had I been more skilled at doing so, I might have added a liner inside the blouse so as not to have to wear an under-layer, but wearing a tank beneath it is an easy fix.  I just need to find one of a similar color so it blends well with the pink.



And as you might be able to tell, upon finishing, I just could not stop admiring the intricate loveliness of the lace, especially as the silkiness of it was highlighted by the light coming through my window.  Ahh, lace.  I am dreaming of future projects with more lace trim, especially because of the elegance and somewhat vintage aesthetic I feel it adds, no matter what the style of garment.



I was so excited to finish this piece this summer and enjoyed the process and learning from it so much, as I do with each new item I sew.  I await perusing some of my favorite sewing books for inspiration for some new projects this weekend, and I look forward to looking through fall patterns I picked up recently, as well.


What projects have you finished recently, sewing or otherwise?

Do you like lace trim on your clothing?


As I get ready to hit "publish" on this post, I am excited to have my schedule 
be slightly less hectic as the autumn approaches and to get to sit here and write
this with the hope of getting to do so more regularly again. 
  This summer has been a whirlwind- so full of the nicest memories and
 wonderful days- but truly busy, so this is a great feeling. I have been blessed to
live a summer of exploring and taking in nature and history in new places,
so I have been busy in the best way, but I have missed blogging,
visiting you, and having the joy of sharing.


Have a joyous rest of your week!

Love in Him,

-J


Saturday, September 2, 2017

In the Storm

In some of the coziest moments over the past week, feeling so fall-like,
I stood at the front window and watched the sky turn different shades of gray,
from steely to deep and dark to bluish-gray.  And in my hand, I held a warm cup
of tea, awaiting more soft rain that would follow and soon turn to gusty rain
and the picking up of the strongest winds I would ever feel in my life...
...this was all before the devastation of the storm, Hurricane Harvey.
I stood and looked out my window as droplets ran down the glass and I 
enjoyed the quiet peace and knowing that I would spend the next
couple of days writing, reading, and crafting under these stormy skies.
Being just a few hours away from the Texas coast, though,
I also had a bit of heaviness in my heart knowing that this storm might
negatively affect the coastal towns I've visited all my life.
To what extent, though, I had no idea.

Everyone, including myself and many in my family who live closer to the coast,
thought the storm may blow over a few signs and sheds, perhaps, and rip a few 
boards or shingles off of homes, but the almost total desolation Harvey has 
left behind is dauntingly horrific.
It is infinitely worse than many of us thought it would be.

I am so grateful that my family and family friends near the coast are safe,
but so many others are not as fortunate.  If you have seen the coverage and stories
of the horribly tragic loss of life and homes that is effecting places like Houston or
 Rockport and countless other little towns you may now have heard of, your heart probably aches
 for those  people as mine does.  The days that have followed the storm have been a shock
 to our state, namely to see the people here who have had their lives completely shattered,
their loved ones lost or missing, the elderly, families, and animals being rescued
after days of sitting and living in feet of water.
I am not even there myself, but oh how heartbreaking those sights are.
Tears fill my eyes and heart as I think of the sadness and loss.

Although a storm like Harvey may have been strong,
people who band together as Southeast Texans are (as well as those coming
from all over to so generously help and provide relief)- risking their lives to save
neighbors and strangers alike and livestock and pets- are ultimately
a great deal stronger, and most of all, so is the Lord!

"GOD is our refuge
and strength,
a very present help
in trouble."
-Psalm 46:1


Since the realization of the damage and intensity of the disastrous
results of the storm, I know am not alone as I think throughout the day of
all those impacted and of those suffering in some way or other from this.

I find myself going to sleep heartsick, thinking of how I am
in a warm bed, safe, while others are in shelters, now homeless,
or a few days ago, how those people were sitting in feet of water in their
homes still waiting to be rescued... weathering days and nights in those
conditions, waiting and praying.  And I think so, so often
of the wildlife, pets, and all precious animals undergoing the flooding and
effects of the storm, as well... and I have prayed so very hard,
asking the Lord to please save and rescue those still left and care for them and
allow things to work for good in the lives of all- people and animals alike.

I know God will bring light out of the darkness.
He already has in the way so many have had a reminder of the precious
things of life and have come together to help each other, restoring faith in humanity.
And I know He hears each and every prayer and sorrowful heart in this situation,
and the prayers of all of us praying for those hurting right now,
both in Texas and Louisiana, where flooding is also devastating several areas.

May prayers be answered and there be blessings showered
on all of the effected as they face rebuilding their lives and coping.
May they be comforted and strengthened spiritually and physically!


As I mentioned above, our coast is a place that I hold close to my heart
because I have spent many childhood and recent moments there.
I have such dear memories of beach days here and enjoying the waves and coastline.
These photographs are a few of my favorite scenes I captured on my
most recent trip to Port Aransas Island, which was hit hard by Harvey.
This is the coastline's glorious beauty as it appeared last summer.


I do hope you have a blessed and most lovely weekend, friends!

Hugs to you!

With love in Christ,
-Jazzmin

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